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Kauffman Museum camps offer learning and fun for many ages

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – College students may be scattering for the summer, but a broad spectrum of other students will be converging on the Bethel College campus over the next two months, including at Kauffman Museum for the popular Uncle Carl’s Camps.

The half-day camps began in 1996 as hands-on, discovery-oriented opportunities for area youth to learn about archeology in a museum setting. The last 13 years have seen seven sessions added, based on topics in history, nature, art, science and writing.

Some of the camps scheduled for this June and July still have openings, among them the art camps “Manipulating Media for an Artist’s Vision,” June 8-12 for ages 9-12, and “Art in Nature,” June 15-18 for ages 6-8. USD 373 art teacher LaDonna Voth is the instructor for both camps, where campers will use a variety of media to make creations related to Kansas artists or Kansas symbols.

Another camp with space available is “Discover Natural Kansas,” July 7-10 for ages 12-14. Campers will spend much of their time outside with Travis Krehbiel, instructor of biology at Wichita Area Technical College, exploring prairies, woodlands and streams near Kauffman Museum. On the last day of camp, there will be a field trip to Kanapolis State Park to see evidence of stampeding bison herds and ancient petroglyphs.

Karen Kreider Yoder, professor of literacy at Touro University in Vallejo, Calif., will lead two writing camps, one for middle- and high school-age youth and one for adults.

“Writers of the Prairie,” July 13-17 for ages 12-18, will provide in-depth writing instruction, opportunities to share with peers and a look at great writers of the prairie states.

Adult sessions of “Writers of the Prairie” will be held July 14 and 16. The first session will introduce participants to poetry and memoirs of prairie writers. Session Two will offer opportunities for participants to create their own prairie writings and receive feedback from peers and the instructor.

All camps except the adult writers’ sessions are held in the morning. Cost is $60 for museum members and $75 for non-members. Each camper receives a T-shirt. Sessions for adults are $15 each.

Uncle Carl’s Camps are currently taking names for wait-lists for “Way Back When” (May 26-29 for ages 4-5, with Kristin Neufeld Epp); “It’s a Wild Wonderful Prairie World” (June 1-5 for ages 6-8, with Joyce Lent); and “Explorations in Archeology” (June 22-26 for ages 9-12, with Nathan Dick).

To register for camps, go to, where there is a link for a downloadable brochure with registration form, or call Andi Schmidt Andres at 316-283-1612 to register over the phone with a credit card. For more information, contact Andres at number above or e-mail

Uncle Carl’s Camps are named for Charles Kauffman, known fondly as Uncle Carl, who brought his museum from South Dakota to the Bethel College campus in North Newton in 1940. He spent the next 18 years bringing history and the outdoor world to life for children and adults at Kauffman Museum – also the goal of today’s Uncle Carl’s Camps.

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